The 1934 Pattern

The 1934 pattern is too fragile to use; not suprising when it’s  been folded up inside a magazine for 82 years. It has no markings except for notches and darts cut into the pattern pieces. Seam allowances of 1/2 inch are included.

I’ve started with the skirt. It’s a straight skirt with a slight flare towards the bottom but the main reason you can move in it is that there is a pleat in the centre front seam from around knee high.

I copied the pattern on to greaseproof paper and graded it up from the rather slight hip measurements of the original to mine. Plenty of ease allowed; I can always adjust when I’ve tacked the real thing. I’m no expert pattern grader but if you’re interested in trying, I think a skirt is the easiest.

How I grade a skirt:

Don’t alter any centre seams – you’re likely to throw out the grain line and the skirt will never sit correctly. Just increase the side seams equally. So if you need an extra 2 inches, add half an inch at the side seams; that gives you an inch at each side.  Take a look at one of the commercial multi-sized patterns and see how their size variations are done and how they keep the shape- an easy way to learn.


There are no hip or waist measurements provided with the pattern – the instructions say to pin the pattern pieces together before you start to check the pattern will fit. The rest of the fitting is done after cutting out – I guess even old sheets were valuable in the 1930s and not to be cut up for toiles as I have done.

The main difficulty with the skirt pattern is the pleat in the centre front. The instructions say to press it to one side and that’s all. That’s not enough because the pleat would sag unless sewn in place. Sewing it in place would require a line of stitching showing on the outside but just on one side of the centre seam.

I can find no reference to a single front pleat done this way in 1930s sewing books and I think it would look awful. I hope the 1934 magazine readers were not disappointed in their suit. Maybe they did the same as me: I’ve turned it into an inverted pleat as described in The Art of Needlecraft by RK & MIR Polkinghorne (1934). It works on the toile.

EmilyAnn is sewing 1930s too. Take a look at her pattern – made by draping – here.

Norma x









Filed under 1930s, 1930s sewalong, Clothes, dressmaking, history, sewalongs, sewing, Singer sewing machines, textiles

11 responses to “The 1934 Pattern

  1. EmilyAnn Frances May

    I add ease the same as you, from the side seams. I think our experience and observations teach us just as much as books do.

    I’ve never heard of a pleat stitched to one side of center front. I will check the vintage 1 volume encyclopedia I got last week. It’s called “Weldon’s Encyclopedia of Needlework” published by The Waverly Book Co., Ltd. in London. There is no date of publication but it definitely predates WWII if I go by the illustrations in the dressmaking section.

    This book is very useful. There are even knitting and crochet stiches I’ve not seen in modern day patterns. You’ve given me a good idea for the next series of postings at my blog. April is going to be busy at work and with my clinic visits. I’m not sure when I’ll stat the dress toile and then the n drape for the jacket. While that’s going on in the background I can take photos from the encyclopedia about pleats and pleat finishes. Then I’ll post the photos with descriptions of the techniques for pleats. The book is too thick and the binding fragile to put on a scanner.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s so cool that you’re making a pattern from the 30s. I look forward to seeing how it comes out. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Norma, I’m curious, does the CF pleat go all the way up to the waist?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Even though I don’t sew–I am loving all the construction details.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: More of the 1934 Skirt | She Sews You Know

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s